Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, Chapter 11-4
We are an Association of Combat Veterans from all branches of the United States Armed Forces who ride motorcycles as a hobby. Our mission now is to support and defend those who have defended our country and our freedoms. Our focus is to help veteran care facilities provide a warm meal, clothing, shelter, and guidance, or simply to say “Thank You.” and “Welcome Home.”
Tom Shirey, more commonly referred to simply as “Gunny”, was a true champion for veterans and their families. A retired U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant, Tom used his Montgomery G.I. Bill to learn how to repair bicycles at his local technical college after Vietnam. His long tenure as a Ride Captain in the WA Patriot Guard Riders (PGR) and founder/workhorse of their Help on the Homefront (HOTH) program changed the lives of the hundreds of family members of fallen service members. He made it his life mission to ensure that no veteran ever felt their service wasn’t appreciated, and dedicated his life’s work to supporting veterans and their families. As the Chapter Executive Officer for the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association (CVMA), his projects and campaigns to assist veterans were rivaled by none in the South Sound Region.
Gunny passed away in his sleep after attending a local motorcycle fundraiser for veterans on April 21st, 2013. His passing was met with hundreds of local veterans, motorcyclists, law enforcement, and service members paying their respects to his life’s work as he was memorialized at Tahoma National Cemetery. Annually, both the WA PGR and CVMA hold memorial motorcycle rides to honor his memory.